MARYLAND (WDVM) — The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many stress points of everyday life. One of the biggest issues is food security.
The Maryland Food Bank says around one in three Marylanders is food insecure. With rising costs of everyday items, they’re projecting these problems of where to find healthy food options will only get worse.
President and CEO Carmen Del Guercio explains that Maryland Food Bank is starting to branch out to not only provide and distribute food but also address one of the root problems of food insecurity – job security and financial stability. He says that the Maryland Food Bank already has an extensive list of community partners who can start to bridge the gap.
“We could play as a collaborator and a conduit to bring these services in these communities through the network that we’ve developed while we feed people,” Del Guercio explained. “We can invite them into our network in a way that allows them to interact with people every day, and know that their services are what’s needed in that community so that there could be a real, real impact.”
Del Guercio also explained the Maryland Food Bank is also finding ways to help Marylanders get back into the workforce through a number of resources. He says the organization is helping to provide workforce development programs, like their culinary training program, but also partnering with other organizations who are continuing that work in the community.
He also says MFD is looking into ways to combat common issues like lack of transportation or childcare that prevents people from visiting donation sites. He says one of the ways to start addressing this issue is to partner with organizations in the community that already provide those services.
Del Guercio also stressed that people should not be ashamed when visiting distribution locations.
“We often talk about creating a very dignified experience and so we spend a lot of time working with our partners to ensure that the environment or creating for members, the community to come into their pantries to make that as a dignified experience as they possibly can,” Del Guercio said.
Del Guercio says the food bank is looking to open up more access points, also known as mobile markets, in neighborhoods that might not be able to get to a traditional food distribution location.
For more resources and a list of food distribution locations, please visit the Maryland Food Bank website.